I’ve compiled all the developer information I could find concerning trade and presented it below. While it may not appear brief it’s labelled as such because it doesn’t include literally everything that’s ever been said about trade but rather contains the most relevant information, with a bias towards more recent developments.
For quotes that are derived from video content I’ve transcribed them to the best of my abilities, but you can click their source links to watch them for yourself.
April 6, 2018
The initial trading system for the game, The Bazaar, was unveiled in a blog post back during pre-alpha. The system was essentially an auction house with certain limitations and rules. In addition, you could also trade with friends, though you had to be friends for a “reasonable amount of time”. This system did receive plenty of feedback in the subsequent months, but I won’t list all that here.
April 2, 2021 & April 9, 2021
Mike Weicker explains the overarching design of the Bazaar during these developer streams, which had changed substantially since its original unveiling. Unfortunately, these streams were not archived to Last Epoch’s YouTube account so I’ve had to source my own transcriptions of them. There were far more questions asked about trade and the Bazaar during further dev streams, but I had stopped transcribing them so these were the easiest to find.
May 20, 2021
Judd Cobler, LE CEO and Game Director, hosts an AMA on Reddit and inevitably receives some questions concerning trade. I found this quote of particular importance because it outlined the design goals of their future trading system, at that time.
July 20, 2021
The Multiplayer FAQ is published which echoed much of what Mike said during the developer streams.
EHG responds to some initial feedback about the system on Reddit.
This new version of the Bazaar would garner a lot of player feedback across multiple platforms over the coming months.
January 27, 2022
In a developer blog it’s announced that several previously planned systems were being removed from the forecast, which included the Bazaar. There were no details given about the new Item Trading forecast item that took its place.
April 27, 2022
Twitch streamer Zizaran interviews Stanzwar and Mike Weicker. They discuss a multitude of topics, with trade being one of them. Considering Stanzwar’s role in multiplayer development it stands to reason that his comments on trade would carry a lot of weight. Personally, I find much of what’s said here to be some of the best information we have on what a future trading system may look like.
May 13, 2022
Not much shared here, but we learned that there wasn’t a trading system in testing at this time.
June 10, 2022
There’s not a whole lot new here about RMT, but considering I don’t have previous dev streams that talk about it I figured I’d include this more recent discussion on the topic.
June 22, 2022
From my research this appears to be the first mention of trade not being included in patch 0.9. This was the same day that the June Dev Update was released, announcing patch 0.9 as the next update. This certainly sparked a lot of renewed interest in the topic of trade.
June 24, 2022
It’s a very quick answer by Mike that appears to be the spark for the Reddit post below it, though it’s hard to confirm that.
June 29, 2022
Mike’s comment during the June 24th dev stream appears to have generated a lot of feedback on Reddit, with many more developer responses than just this one. If you want to read them all be sure to visit the source link of the Reddit thread below.
July 3, 2022
This is basically more of the same, but I’ve included it anyways.
July 7, 2022
A lot of talk about trade not being included in 0.9, the overall complexity of it, and the possibility of having to delay multiplayer further to include it. That last part generates a lot of future discussion.
July 8, 2022
Mike deals with the fallout of hypothetically having to delay multiplayer for trade, and also provides some background as to why trade isn’t quite as easy to implement as some may think.
July 22, 2022
Most of what Mike says here echoes comments made by Stanzwar during the Zizaran interview.
August 26, 2022
Not a whole lot new here either, other than reconfirmation that an auction house type system is not being planned for trade.
Currently, we still don’t know what trade system is planned for Last Epoch, or if patch 0.9 will include some form of trade. The Official Last Epoch Multiplayer FAQ still holds the only knowledge we have of trade, which isn’t much:
So what can we glean from all this data? Well, we can make some fairly good assumptions about the design goals for any future trade system EHG implements. These would likely be:
trade should not invalidate going out and killing monsters
trade should have as little impact on the SSF experience as possible
trade should take place in-game without the need for third-party resources
players should be able to trade with their friends
players should find trade engaging, meaningful, and fun
an economy similar to PoE’s isn’t desirable as it requires additional resources to maintain
the trade system should discourage RMT, or at least make it so undesirable that it’s not worth doing
gold will likely be competing with other resources for the role of dominant trading currency
Instanced party trading has been a confirmed feature for a long time now, and would make a great candidate for the first element of trade to be implemented. The next element of trade would likely allow friends to trade with each other regardless of if they were in the same instance or not. This will certainly be challenging to accomplish without conflicting with some of their design goals, but as Mike says it’ll require creative solutions. Also, we know that any trade system(s) implemented are not final and subject to change based on both player feedback and how they perform in large scale testing.
As we’ve learned, trade wasn’t planned for patch 0.9. Though, if we look at previous forecasts, trade has never been aligned with multiplayer so this really isn’t new information. Even the latest iterations of the forecast don’t have Multiplayer & Trading bundled as a single item, they’re still listed as separate items.
The likelihood of trade arriving alongside multiplayer in patch 0.9 will probably come down to a few key factors:
the current state of multiplayer development
the difficulty, time, and resources it would require to implement trade
how much EHG perceives its exclusion would impact the overall reception of multiplayer
and if including trade now moves multiplayer out of a favourable launch window or delays 1.0 in any significant way
As Mike states in some of his comments, they’ve received opposing feedback of the necessity for trade in the 0.9 patch. Considering the release of multiplayer may still be several months out this decision could go either way. Selfishly I’d prefer multiplayer and trade release together, but I also understand the development and business realities that may not make that feasible.
I realize this post doesn’t really bring any new information on trade, but I had some spare time to kill and who doesn’t like talking about everyone’s favourite polarizing subject?
Did I exclude any valuable trade information? Do you agree or disagree with my takeaways of the data? Or have any good theories as to what trade system they’ll eventually implement?
I wasn’t planning on adding to this thread, but the latest dev stream brought some interesting new information on the topic that I felt should be included here.
September 2, 2022
Judd Cobler added this comment below in Twitch chat while Mike was answering the question above.
So it’s now officially the early days of trade testing, which is exciting news. While it doesn’t answer any questions as to what type of trading system it’ll be or if it’ll be included in patch 0.9, it’s still an important achievement and milestone for the team working on it. I look forward to learning more in the future.
Thanks for the work. Good read at work when things are slow.
My take is just wait and see what comes up. Pointless to guess and dream about how trade should be etc. Rather it takes a while and comes out good, than be promised the moon and be delivered a pebble so to speak.
I probably won’t feel the need to update this again, but we did receive a lot of information surrounding trade in the last couple weeks that I felt needed to be added here. None of this information included any specifics as to how trade will work or anything but rather how it’s progressing, and that some form of trade would indeed be included in patch 0.9.
September 9, 2022
Mike reiterates much of what he said during the September 2, 2022 dev stream.
September 14, 2022
This was the first of two Multiplayer Dev Q&A streams that took place. Judd talks about trade from a high-level viewpoint and reveals that their first trade system will be tested by the Community Testers in the coming weeks to get feedback on before being unveiled to everyone at a later date. Also, Dan speaks to just how much they’ve discussed trade and the options they’ve considered.
September 15, 2022
In this second Multiplayer Dev Q&A stream Judd and Dan reiterate a lot of what was said in the first stream – detailing many of the high-level goals they have for trade and how important it is that they get it right for the game they’re trying to make.
September 16, 2022
Mike reiterates points he’s discussed in both the September 2nd and 9th streams, but then reveals that the plan is to have some form of item transfer available in patch 0.9.
September 23, 2022
Again, Mike comments that some form of trade is planned to be coming in patch 0.9.
September 24, 2022
Mike comments that nothing is known about how any future trade system will function and that they’re still working on its implementation and testing. So, nothing really new here but I included it anyways.
I imagine the next time we receive any meaningful information concerning trade it’ll be within its own development blog. I’m looking forward to it.
Thanks for this. I havent been following what Mike had been sharing in his dev stream so this is helpful.
I get where Mike is coming from. I hate flipping in an ARPG too as well. And I like to earn my items through grinding the game. But I really hope whatever solution they pursue, they dont completely kill trade just to deal with flipping or RMT. I recently linked this video timestamp somewhere and I want to share it again too here. The video segment here from 15:00 to 16:00 really explains why trade feels so important to me in an ARPG.
My two cents: You can’t balance game in a way to satisfy both casuals and the people that love to grind without trade. I will talk for myself here, I have a job and a lot of different games that I am interested in. But I do want to check out some LE builds too. Suppose game has 10 chase uniques that each take roughly 200 hours to farm. In average I can play 20 hours to get 1 of those and trade for the one I want instead. If there was no trading, I would simply quit the game. On the other hand 20 hours is nothing for some people. Unless they introduce a way to change drop rates for each player to what they want, you can’t balance for this. That is what trade solves for me. If you want to grind, you can still grind. Nobody is forcing you to trade.
I guess the only worry here is if they balance it in a way considering trade so SSF players would be hurt in the process. That I would wait and see.
I just hope we get some option to trade with friend. The only thing I want for trade is to give items to my group of friends I play with.
I love this groud-selffound experience and played Grim Dawn for years just sharing items with one or two friends. And I missed this so much in POE.
Not been able to farm an item and give it to my friends would be really sad.
I think problem is that Chris’ take is exactly what people dislike. And is what promotes a “economy to further wealth gain”
its looking at items no longer for their value to you as an item, but their value as a currency.
You cant have a rich loot experience if you have markets like that, its not just about rmt or flipping. its about the psychological grab of the game. Many times in PoE an item will be released and players will go “well thats garbage its 1c” because the lens players in PoE view items through is purely a market one.
“why do I kill an end game boss to drop an axe worth 2c?” They dont actually care about if disfavor is good or not, they care whether or not it has value.
If trading exists as chris explains it, thats all that items are, is market tools.
I think the reason the devs will restrict trade so much is so that players continue to look at items for their merit as items rather then currency to buy other items.
Currently LE has a much better loot experience(Atleast for a player like me) then PoE because items you are interested in finding are ones you wish to use. Not simply tooling your filter to find the most “meta” items to sell to buy the ones you want.
Edit: what I will say, it does sound interesting how they will somehow make trading a thing, without these pitfalls, as they seem pretty clear there will be some kinda direct trading. Just not full on markets
Thanks. Appreciate the very well articulated alternative response.
But I suppose your post further clarified for me the difference between a SSF player and someone like myself who tend to take a MP/“community” oriented view in online ARPG.
For solo players who essentially see the game as a single player game, your perspective makes complete sense. Item’s merits should rightfully be to the extend they are useful to you. And I totally see how a forced market perspective negatively impact your experience of loot drops.
But for players like myself who enjoys player interactions (whether it is the moment to moment gameplay in a party, or the broader game environment), I hope you can see why a market perspective to items make so much sense to me. Because in interacting with other players, the value of items is surely not just the worth of the items to me. But to these other players I interact with, and by extension, the entire online community at the meta environment level.
I know there are plenty of running jokes of “player interactions” in trade situations. But I think the implementation is besides the point. Items with market value at a fundamental level is what makes the online community relevant to me in the game. And I would like to make claim at this point that isn’t that the whole point to make the game online, with MP, and social hubs?